HYSTERECTOMY is the removal of the uterus (womb), the last option once other treatments have failed.
This muscle pouch holds the pregnancy. The inside lining bleeds during menstruation, and the opening (cervix) is where Pap smears are taken. So the clitoris, vagina and ovaries are NOT affected.
Removing an unhealthy uterus treats pelvic pain with fibroids/endometriosis/prolonged or irregular/heavy menstrual bleeding, discomfort from vaginal prolapse or prevents/treats cancer.
The worst myth to dispel is that removing the uterus/womb leaves a woman without hormones, causing mood changes, weight gain or reduced libido. This is simply not true.
Ovaries that produced sex hormones are unharmed with careful modern surgical techniques (except cancer surgery when ovaries are removed).
The fact is that many woman who suffer with painful sex before hysterectomy usually report an improvement afterwards.
Those patients with a loose or stretched vaginal opening actually have better sex after surgery, when the vaginal muscles are repaired/tightened.
The next myth is that a hysterectomy always means a large, painful cut (open surgery) and a long hospitalisation/recovery.
Gynaecologists always remove the uterus through the vagina, if possible, meaning there are no visible scars, very little pain and quicker healing.
Only if a vaginal operation is too difficult do we use laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery.
Minimally invasive surgery can be done even with a large uterus or previous surgery.
The fact is that today most women are sent home the next day after surgery, and are able to go back to work within seven to 10 days. However, heavy lifting/strenuous exercise/sex must be delayed for six weeks.
Modern surgery means less pain and speedy recovery.
— Supplied by Dr Shafique Sayed, Gynaecologist.